Is Your Sales Team Stuck in the 20th Century?


It’s a frustration many salespeople can relate to: tactics and strategies that have reliably generated sales for decades aren’t working as well as they used to, but they still work just enough to keep business coming in. What’s happening? Are you losing your touch?

According to today’s leading sales experts, the way sales are made has changed drastically in the past decade, and there are plenty of classic sales tactics to avoid in 2020 — either because they don’t work, or they’re inefficient, or they simple don’t offer much of a return on investment. 

If you’re looking for ways to make your team more productive, you need to start thinking of new approaches that can actually deliver the results you’re looking for. 

The Cold-Calling Trap

Cold calling has long been one of the bedrock tools for sales, both in the world of business-to-business marketing and for reaching ordinary people. And there are many salespeople who still swear that cold calling is an effective way to connect with customers. 

But as Jeff Winters, CEO of Sapper Consulting, notes in this Forbes interview, the question is not so much whether cold calling works — it does, sometimes — but whether it is the best way to make the connections and build the relationships that will lead to regular business. 

In the contemporary business climate, ‘effective’ is not enough: you need to think about efficiency. Are you using the most efficient means to generate leads and close sales, or are you having to put more and more hours to pursue diminishing returns? When you do the math, you might find that investing in higher-quality leads costs less than putting your sales team to work cold-calling strangers who may not be interested. 

In 2020, Sales is About Connection

Before a sale can be made, you have to establish a connection and some degree of trust. Depending on what product or service you are selling, this might involve a variety of different strategies. But experts agree that whether in a B2B context or a general sales context, you are much more likely to land a sale if there is some prior contact with a customer beforehand. 

This is one of the reasons social media marketing is so important. A customer who is already familiar with your brand through Instagram, Facebook, or LinkedIn is more likely to respond positively when you get in touch with them. And a customer who has been referred by a friend is even more likely. 

For this reason, software solutions that can help you develop a holistic approach to marketing and lead generation are rapidly becoming essential tools in modern sales. Putting in the effort to establish as many points of contact as possible with a customer before you try to sell something to them will mean that your sales team’s time is being used efficiently. 

Older generations still respond to established sales practices, but no company can survive if it isn’t expanding its approach and responding to the way younger generations do business. If you want to get the most out of your sales team in the coming year, make sure you aren’t pouring hours and hours into outmoded sales tactics. Instead, invest in tools that will empower your team to do what they do best: connect.